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BBC Media Action

Our role in Saamuhika Shakti

At BBC Media Action, we believe in media and communication for good. 
Our role is to meet Saamuhika Shakti’s outcomes around perception change i.e., to cultivate a feeling of dignity, respect, and professional pride among waste pickers and, to encourage Bengaluru’s general population to respect and value waste pickers and waste picking.

What we do

BBC Media Action’s PRIDE project (A Pathway to Respect, Identity, Dignity and Empowerment) will implement social and behaviour change communication interventions to reach and engage both waste-pickers and the general public. The overall goal of this intervention is to build greater social acceptance of waste pickers in Bengaluru.
The project plans to achieve this by addressing two main aspects: first, the general public in Bengaluru have a greater understanding of and empathy for waste picker families and the role they play in supporting a cleaner environment. This goal will be achieved through a multi-phased, multi-platform social media campaign linked with an on-ground activation.
The second aspect of the project is that waste pickers and their families perceive their own work as important, socially, and economically. This will be addressed through communications content disseminated through the on-ground channels including Saamuhika Shakti partners.

How we do it

A Theory of Change (ToC): BBC Media Action's approach to programme development and delivery is driven by evidence and experience. We draw from diverse fields like psychology, behavioural science, communication and social network analysis to craft a Theory of Change - the roadmap for impactful interventions. These roadmaps are informed by research and consider not just individuals but also overlapping social, personal, and structural factors that influence behaviour, as change unfolds within interconnected communities, not in isolated silos, making our programme strategies holistic and effective.
To design our intervention, we relied on theories of Professor Judith Butler around social exclusion and invisibility of certain lives in the society. It focused on addressing the invisibility of waste pickers, their lives and work to be properly valued.
Human centered design (HCD) approach to effective SBCC: Although it can be very tempting to give people information and believe that they will act on it once they know something or are aware of it, evidence shows that many other determinants of behaviour need to be understood and addressed before any shifts in behaviour can be expected. HCD approach helps in creating compelling evidence-based, insight-driven, impact-oriented storytelling.
Using these principles, our intervention in Saamuhika Shakti works towards building respect and recognition for the waste pickers and waste picking by:

The #Invaluables initiative

#Invaluables is an idea created to reframe the work of waste pickers, from being seen as dirty to be seen as someone who handles the waste of the city, from being seen as sub-human to be seen as people like everyone else, from being seen as vagabonds to be seen as skilled and productive – from being invisible, to be seen as invaluable.
To deliver our work, we:
Waste pickers as friends Bengaluru never knew they had: The first phase of #Invaluables aimed to lift the shroud of invisibility and make the contribution of waste pickers more visible to the citizens of Bengaluru. Central to this phase was a social experiment film probing the notion of friendship while revealing ‘Invaluable’ friends of the people of Bengaluru: friends they never knew they had, who have always stood by them.
#Invaluables social experiment film
Celebrating the contributions of #InvaluableRecyclers: The second phase focused on highlighting the environmental impact of waste pickers of Bengaluru who collect, and are responsible for stopping almost 38,32,50,00,00 kilograms of waste from reaching landfills every year – the second phase of the communication was centered around Happy Number music video, to celebrate the contribution of waste pickers to the city of Bengaluru. To cultivate a feeling of dignity, respect, and professional pride among waste pickers, Happy Number was also circulated among waste pickers through digital and offline channels, in collaboration with Saamuhika Shakti partners.
Bringing #Invaluables offline and launch of Instagram brand:  By bringing a Landfill Art Installation to in business parks and colleges, and a series of fire-side chats, called ‘Coffee with Recyclers’ featuring a popular actor and waste pickers, skills and expertise of waste pickers in a circular economy were brought forth in the third phase of #Invaluables. A series of content by leading mainstream influencers to highlight the skills and expertise of waste pickers while calling upon citizens to help #InvaluableRecyclers recycle more. @Invaluables.Bengaluru, an always on Instagram brand was launched to continue the momentum created from the campaign beyond a phase-wise approach and to reach audiences more frequently. 
Coffee with Recyclers on YouTube: In the next phase, a four-part YouTube series was created to reach a vernacular audience. Each episode of Coffee with Recyclers delved into the lives of waste pickers, their families, work, skills and expertise they bring to the profession of waste management as recyclers. To cultivate a feeling of dignity, respect, and professional pride among waste pickers, episodes of Coffee with Recyclers were shown to waste pickers through digital and offline channels, in collaboration with Saamuhika Shakti partners.


Impact so far

BBC Media Action’s impact evaluation

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